Tuesday, March 9, 2010
First Plein Air Painting of this Spring
Well, according to the calendar, it's not r-e-e-e-e-a-a-a-l-l-y Spring yet. But I'm ignoring that. One of the artists who is my dear neighbor at the Ashland Art Center, Sylvia Trujillo (http://www.ashlandartcenter.org/pages/homeSylviaTrujillo.html), 2nd Floor Artists Studios, set out to have our first plein air session on her birthday, Sunday, February 14th. She sent off invites to her students and other interested artists. I got there just after her suggested meeting time, 1pm, giving the morning chill a chance to burn off.
We all met at the southwest end of Emmigrant Lake, near Ashland, Oregon. It was a warm afternoon with only the breeze coming off the lake to cool us. I treked around with my camera to catch potential paintings. Although I favored some of the views right on the lake, I opted for the south side of a knoll with exaggerated, bare trees and a manzanita bush with gorgeous cast shadows.
I'd planned to work on a flat format 12 x 16 inch block, plotting out a design that would eventually wrap around 6 x 12 x 1.5 inch stretcher bars. The drawing took me awhile but I did get in my sketch and the majority of my wax crayon resists. I've been working on the piece on and off for these couple of weeks and finally feel about 3/4 done.
At this point, I seperate the single sheet from the block. First, I wet only the back of the paper (remember, the image is already on the other side), readying to wrap the paper around the stretcher bars. I center using the sun streaming in my kitchen doors to position the paper, centered over the bars. Gently, I lay down the face of the painting on a soft, plastic wrapping and begin pulling the opposite sides of the paper tight before stapling with a staple gun. When I've got the corners tucked and stapled back, I let the piece dry, braced back up, while resting on any object about 1-2 inches high.
I've spent some time finishing up details. Softening some hard edges, darkening focal point values and dotting in some color to balance out the painting and increasing interest in my area of focus. Here she is from the right side, demonstrating what I love about these lil' "intimates" as I like to call them (no frame or glazing to seperate you from the painting surface). When you walk up to these, because of the wrap, the side of the painting introduces you to the image and it changes as you walk by ~ ~ even from the top or bottom. I believe her name will be "Early Spring Break". What do you think?